Infinitely costly grace

By Dave Henning / March 28, 2023

“Someone says, ‘Oh, God just loves everyone.’  But such a God is not as loving as the God of the Bible, who because he was holy and loving gave us grace.  Because he’s loving, there’s free, free, free, free grace for us.  But because he is holy, it was costly grace, infinitely costly grace.”- Timothy Keller (emphasis author’s)

“But Joseph said to [his brothers], ‘Don’t be afraid.  Am I in the place of God?  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.  The saving of many lives.  So then, don’t be afraid.’ . . .  And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”- Genesis 50:19-21 (NIV)

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 8 of Forgive with three spiritual resources gleaned from the Old Testament account of Joseph and his brothers.

 1.  Joseph had enough humility to forgive.  When we struggle to forgive, we must remember that, like Joseph, we’re sinners.  Not God.  However, Pastor Keller cautions, we must tread carefully here.  Because the Bible tells us to cry out to God when we hurt.  Yet, anyone who remains bitter takes the place of God and thus retains the right to judge.

 2.  Joseph repaid evil with good.  Literally, in Hebrew, Joseph tells his brothers that they meant it for evil.  Certainly, Joseph doesn’t gloss over the truth.  Consequently, like Joseph, we can look our offender right in the eye.  For we know the perpetrator cannot ultimately harm us.  Or take us from under God’s love and care.

 3.  The costliness of Jesus’s saving love.  To reject a God of wrath, Pastor Keller underscores, minimizes what Jesus did for us.  In addition, without a belief in a God who punishes sin, one has no sense of what it cost Jesus to love us.

In conclusion, Pastor Keller explains how Gods infinitely costly grace changes you:

“It changes me because, at the very same time, on the one hand, it humbles me out of my pride and self-centeredness and it affirms me out of my inferiority and self-pity.  It makes me hate my sins because it led to his death.  But it forbids me to hate myself because he did it for me, to make me free.”

Today’s question: How do you respond to God’s infinitely costly grace?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The final judge = only God”

About the author

Dave Henning

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